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Finding makeup that will work with oily skin can be pretty tough. For those with oily skin, foundations always seem to move around after a few hours, while eyeliner smudges in seconds! It can be especially complicated these days when everyone wants to look dewy, but most products that help with that pull you straight over into the “greasy” category.
Whether you’re into that matte Instagram look or are more interested in looking luminescent and glowy, we’ve got some suggestions that’ll make it easy for you to rock foundation even with oily skin.
For this guide, we collected the best makeup for those with oily skin. We’re starting with the best foundations for oily skin, and then talk a bit about other makeup categories where facial oils can have an impact.
We go into detail about how to choose different makeup products based on your oily skin, and then give a comprehensive guide about how to use makeup to achieve a flawless complexion that won’t let oils peak through after a few hours. To finish things off, we have a few extra tips and tricks that will help you personalize your oily skin makeup routine.
Oily Skin Makeup Guide: Contents
- 25 Best Foundations for Oily Skin That Stay Put
- 11 Other Makeup Products for Oily Skin to Try
- What Makeup Products to Choose for Oily Skin
- How to Apply Foundation If You Have Oily Skin
- Useful Makeup Tips for Oily Skin
Since finding the best foundation for oily skin is perhaps the trickiest part, here we have compiled a list of 25 options that stay put without making you feel greasy!
1. Too Faced Peach Perfect Comfort Matte Foundation Peaches and Cream Collection
This peach-scented foundation is a holy grail for many people and is easily the best foundation for oily skin. It provides medium coverage, so it is lighter and more natural than the Double Wear foundation, but it still has that wonderful matte finish. It doesn’t move and is totally transfer-proof, so you can even give it a try without powder. It has a wonderful pore-blurring effect that is especially nice. It is available at Sephora.
2. Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation
This foundation for oily skin has a ton of things going for it. It is one of the most mattifying and oil-resistant foundations on the market, so you know that your oils will not show through it and that it will last all day long. Beyond that, the color selection is incredible, with options for all skin tones and undertones. The coverage is quite high for those of you who like that Instagram look, but you can sheer it out with a primer for lighter coverage. Buy it from Nordstrom!
3. Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Foundation
Just because you have oily skin doesn’t mean you want to use a totally mattifying foundation. A bit of a glow can be quite nice, and a dewy complexion is especially trendy these days. This foundation for oily skin gives a demi-matte finish that translates into dewy-not-greasy luminescence on those who have oily skin. It has an incredible shade range and buildable coverage. Find it at Sephora!
4. Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Liquid 24H Longwear SPF 15 Foundation
This liquid foundation has fans from all over the skin type spectrum, but its velvety matte finish means that it’s the best foundation for oily skin. One of the best descriptions of it is that it is matte without being flat or dull, or, in other words, totally natural. The coverage isn’t too heavy, so it won’t substitute for concealer. It offers mild sun protection, which can be enough for days when you only spend short bursts outdoors. Get it from Nordstrom!
5. Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
This foundation became a major hit immediately after release, and this was almost to its detriment. This foundation has a very matte finish, but people with non-oily skin weren’t taking that into account when purchasing it and were ending up disappointed. For those with oily skin, on the other hand, this is one of the best foundations. It has very high coverage and exceptional oil control, with a shade range that guarantees that everyone will find a color match. You can pick it up at Sephora.
6. MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix Fluid Foundation SPF 15
It seems like people have forgotten about MAC recently, which is unfortunate because this is the original brand to release inclusive foundation shade ranges. We didn’t forget, which is why we’re happy to count this as one of the best foundations for oily skin. It offers a natural matte finish and medium coverage that can be built up to full. Despite being matte, it still contains some skin-hydrating ingredients that will keep the skin feeling soft. This foundation is sold at Nordstrom.
7. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation
This foundation was a favorite back when I was in makeup school, which was a whole decade ago! I’m happy to say it hasn’t lost any of its status and that it remains one of the best foundations for oily skin around. It offers natural coverage that is great for those who prefer a satiny finish rather than a velvety one, but it still is able to control oils. The coverage is medium, and you’ll probably have to use a setting powder with it. It is available at Sephora.
8. Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundation
You’ll like this foundation if you have a preference for very full coverage because we can assure you that nothing will show through it, oils included. You won’t have to build up or apply multiple layers, because it’ll look flawless on the first try. It is especially well regarded for its ability to stay in place without fading or breaking up for over 16 hours. Purchase it at Ulta!
9. Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation
Considering the amount of heat Kat Von D has been under recently, she’s probably thankful for how sweat-proof her foundation is. It’s also oil-proof and very matte, and the coverage is incredible – after all, it’s meant to be able to cover tattoos. It is easy to blend, and you can also sheer it out with lighter products if necessary. The only drawback is that some people do find that it oxidizes on them. Find it at Sephora!
10. Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup
This very unique formula from Clinique offers a natural matte finish, resistance to humidity, and some phenomenal skin care ingredients. It has a medium finish and a very thin, blendable texture that feels light on the skin. The ingredients include skin-soothing and pore-tightening willow bark extract as well as hydrating glycerin and barrie- strengthening cholesterol. Pick it up at Nordstrom!
11. It Cosmetics CC+ Cream with SPF 50+
If you’d like to have a foundation you can rely on for more serious sun protection, then this CC cream is it. While CC creams are usually associated with lighter coverage, this one actually offers medium coverage that can be built up to full and has a natural finish that looks very radiant when one has oily skin. It will also allow you to skip your moisturizer since it contains snail secretion filtrate, hyaluronic acid, and some non-comedogenic oils. Order it from Sephora!
12. Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation
This is yet another foundation that received a lot of hype, and as a result, disappointed a lot of people that did not have the right skin type for it. This foundation is best for those with oily skin and is totally inappropriate for someone who leans even remotely towards dry. It has a thicker texture and offers full coverage, which is perfect for those who like that Instaglam look. You can buy it at Sephora.
13. MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation
A powder that also acts as a foundation is the quickest way to achieve an even-toned, matte complexion when you have oily skin. Studio Fix is considered the best of the best, thanks to its inclusive color range, buildable coverage without cakiness, and non-comedogenic formula. You can wear it alone or on top of a concealer. Grab a compact at Nordstrom!
14. Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation SPF 15
This foundation has been on the market for a while, and once upon a time, it was a personal favorite. It comes in a super convenient squeeze tube, so it is light and travel-friendly, and the formula itself is beautifully matte and full coverage. It contains a variety of skin-nourishing minerals including oil-absorbing kaolin clay. Find it at Sephora!
15. PÜR 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation SPF 15
This powder formulation is surprisingly skin-nourishing, with ingredients like antioxidant ferulic acid and hydrating lactic acid. Despite that, it is quite mattifying and even offers very high coverage for a powder foundation. If you are dealing with a lot of discoloration, limited time, and very oily skin, then this is the best foundation for you. Do note that because of the SPF protection this powder does have a bit of a white cast when photographed with a flash. Buy it from Ulta!
16. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 – Oil Free
If you need a break from all the high-coverage options, you might appreciate this light tinted moisturizer, which allows your natural skin to really shine through while keeping oils at bay. In addition to sun protection, it also protects the skin from radical damage with ingredients like vitamins C and E. It has a natural finish that is neither dewy nor matte. It is available at Sephora.
17. bareMinerals Matte Foundation SPF 15
Powder foundations are mattifying from the get-go, but this one goes the extra mile to really absorb excess oils throughout the day. It comes as a loose powder, so it’s not the most travel-friendly but it does mean you get more product than you would with a pressed powder. The formula is made primarily of mineral ingredients, with no fillers or irritants. The shade range is one of the best for powder foundations. Get it at Nordstrom!
18. Dior BACKSTAGE Face & Body Foundation
This self-setting foundation will give your skin the most natural coverage imaginable while still keeping facial oils in check. It is very gentle and non-comedogenic, offering medium coverage that will not replace concealer but will also never look cakey or dry. The color range is very inclusive, with matches for every skin tone. You can find it at Sephora.
19. Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation
This velvety foundation for oily skin has a liquid-to-powder formula that will allow you to get away with minimal powdering. It has a buildable medium finish, and a rejuvenating formula that includes antioxidants to keep the skin feeling smooth. There is also kaolin clay in the blend, which absorbs oils throughout the day. It is available at Nordstrom.
20. Yves Saint Laurent All Hours Longwear Natural Matte Foundation
We usually associate YSL with dewy formulas like the Touche Eclat, but they actually knocked it out of the park with this foundation for oily skin. It is a foundation with high coverage, exceptional longevity and the amazing ability to keep facial oils at bay for hours on end. Despite this, it feels fairly weightless. Order it from Sephora!
21. Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation
With this product Maybelline proved that the best foundation for oily skin does not have to cost more than $10. The formula is very similar to more high-end mattifying foundations, with buildable medium coverage. The formula is totally free of comedogenic ingredients, and the shade range is large enough to cover everyone. It is sold at Ulta.
22. Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Hydrating Foundation
We all know that Smashbox makes excellent primers, but did you know that they have also made the best foundation for oily skin? This foundation has a natural finish that is great for those who prefer a more radiant look, and the shade range is sizable. The formula includes vitamin E and hyaluronic acid to nourish the skin. Purchase it from Sephora!
23. Givenchy Beauty Teint Couture Everwear Foundation SPF 20
This foundation for oily skin feels very luxurious as it goes on the skin, covering all manner of imperfections without weighing things down or caking up. Once it’s on, it really doesn’t move at all and stays put for many hours. It helps to control oils but without overly mattifying the skin. Find it on Net-a-Porter!
24. Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation SPF 15
Weightless is definitely the right description because you will neither feel nor see this foundation on your skin. It evens out the skin tone sheerly and can be built up to medium coverage, with a satin finish that works beautifully for those with oily skin wanting to look dewy. The combination of sunscreen and vitamin C makes this foundation anti-aging, as well. Pick it up from Sephora!
25. Ofra Cosmetics Absolute Cover Foundation
This foundation from Ofra is very new, but it’s already generating a lot of excitement! It’s a very high-coverage foundation for oily skin, offering a matte finish along with some serious anti-aging benefits. The formula includes peptides and antioxidants to keep the skin looking youthful. It gives the skin a flawless finish without looking heavy. You can buy it at Ulta.
From waterproof eyeliner to makeup setting spray, here you have 11 extra makeup products for oily skin that will make your look last long throughout the day.
1. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
Primer can be the best solution for controlling facial oils, whether under foundation or all on its own. The Veil is particularly excellent at absorbing oils and blurring pores, so when a foundation is applied on top of it, it looks extra smooth and lasts for ages. It also gives a touch of sun protection with 15 SPF. Order it from Nordstrom!
2. Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Invisimatte Blotting Powder
While we did recommend some foundations for oily skin that ostensibly do not require a setting powder, the fact of the matter is that when your skin is very oily that claim becomes a little less accurate. This incredible setting powder from Fenty mattifies without dulling or caking up the skin, and it actually works for all skin tones including the darkest, despite the fact that it appears white in the pan. You can buy it at Sephora.
3. Rae Morris Invisible Mattifier Face Powder
This weightless mattifier is extremely unique. It is made with a collection of unique, solidified silicones, and can be best described as a mattifying primer that is applied like a powder. It absorbs oils lightly, without looking like a matte layer. You can use it alone for light-makeup days, or on top of setting powder throughout the day to absorb oils. It is sold online via Net-a-Porter.
4. Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
This translucent powder has rabid fans from all over the skin type spectrum, but it is especially favored by those with oily skin. It is somehow able to remain invisible while setting makeup thoroughly, and it mattifies without leaving the skin looking overly powdered. It is more heavy-duty than the Fenty and Rae Morris powders, so it is especially good for super-oily skin. Get it at Sephora!
5. NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer
Concealing blemishes and spots is child’s play with this matte, full-coverage concealer. It comes in a pot and has a thick, creamy texture. It is definitely best applied with a small brush. Despite the high coverage, it is very blendable and doesn’t cake up. You can also play around with a darker shade for contour or a lighter shade for a matte highlight. It is sold at Sephora.
6. UOMA Beauty Stay Woke Luminous Brightening Concealer
This new brand just launched at Sephora, but their products are already getting an excellent response. This liquid concealer, in particular, is phenomenal for the under eyes! It self-sets, and it has a demi-matte finish that is wonderful for countering oiliness without making the under-eye area look dry. It also works for covering blemishes and acne scars! The color range is incredible, with a great focus on undertones. Find it at Ulta!
7. MAC Cosmetics Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara
Those with oily skin often opt for regular waterproof mascaras, but that’s the wrong instinct. Tubing mascaras are where it’s at because they are truly oil-resistant. This mascara from MAC is one of the best in the category because it gives incredible length and feathery volume. While it is resistant to rain and tears, it will come off with warm water. Buy it from Nordstrom!
8. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
The same issue with most waterproof mascaras also applies to eyeliners, but I’m happy to report this is one of the liquid eyeliners most resistant for oily eyelids. It is unlikely to smudge or flake throughout the day, and it has a sharp marker-style tip that makes drawing on a wing a breeze. Grab it from Ulta!
9. Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick
This lipstick does not budge, which is actually the biggest complaint about it! However, when you have oily skin, those facial oils can disrupt your lipstick or lip liner much as they would any other makeup product. You have dozens of colors to choose from, in a matte formula that doesn’t require lip liner. Put it on and forget about it! If you don’t like the matte finish, then just pop a bit of lip gloss on top. It is available at Nordstrom.
10. Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
The masses have spoken and determined that the All-Nighter setting spray is superior to the De-Slick one, even if you have oily skin! This setting spray will keep your makeup in place and your oils under control, all day AND all night, saving you the need for touch-ups. It is sold at Ulta.
11. Tatcha Aburatorigami Japanese Blotting Papers
Another solution to keep the oil skin matte without over-powdering is blotting papers. These sheets are made of abaca leaf to absorb oils and impurities from the skin without disturbing your makeup. The packaging itself is made of paper, as well, to avoid unnecessary waste. You can get them from Sephora.
When you are dealing with oily skin, there are certain facts you should consider when looking for the best makeup products for your skin type.
Primer for Oily Skin
Finding a makeup primer for oily skin is actually quite easy since most primers are made with dimethicone, which has a mattifying effect. Dimethicone also helps fill in pores and make skin texture look smoother.
Look for primers advertised as being mattifying or that help reduce the appearance of pores. Throughout the day, a mattifying primer will help keep your skin from getting too shiny or greasy and it will also help prevent your foundation from fading or breaking up.
Foundation for Oily Skin
As with primers, silicone-based foundations usually work best for those with oily skin because of their mattifying effect. Liquid-to-powder foundations or foundations advertised as mattifying or having a velvet finish will do the best job of controlling oils and preventing your skin from looking shiny throughout the day.
Usually, these mattifying foundations also offer higher coverage, but exceptions exist if you like light-coverage makeup. If your skin doesn’t respond well to silicone then look for water-based foundations that contain film-forming polymers, acrylates or acrylamides, as these can also have a matte finish and oil-resistance.
Stick and cream foundations will usually have an oilier finish, so, for the most part, they won’t work well for those with oily skin.
To find your foundation shade match, swipe the foundation over your jawline and blend it in slightly. You can do this with a few foundations if you’re unsure, and choose the one that blends almost perfectly into your neck.
Concealer for Oily Skin
As with foundation, silicone-based concealers will also work best for those with oily skin. Choose a more mattifying concealer for covering up discoloration or blemishes on the face.
The area under the eyes, however, tends to be much drier than the rest of the face. Because of that, you should use a natural or demi-matte concealer for under the eyes, because a matte concealer will likely make your eye area look dry and textured.
Powder for Oily Skin
Powders are practically made for oil control, so you can’t really go wrong choosing a powder. Any powder that matches your skin tone should work for setting the foundation and absorbing oils from your skin to prevent shine.
Translucent powders are great because they won’t have an impact on the color of your foundation, while powders with color can help increase coverage. You don’t have to buy powders marketed specifically as mattifying but generally try to avoid powders that appear too white, as they might cause flashback in photos.
Eye Makeup for Oily Skin
Those with oily skin often also have very oily eyelids, so it’s hard to keep certain eye makeup products from creasing or smudging. A great eye primer can make a big difference because it’ll act as a barrier between the makeup and the oils the skin produces, which means the makeup will look better for longer. Beyond that, it’s all about finding formulas that are a little more oil-proof.
Tubing mascaras, for example, are much more oil resistant than other mascaras despite not being waterproof, and liquid eyeliners tend to hold up between when applied directly on top of eye primer. Pencil eyeliners tend to be quite oil-resistant, especially if they are set with eyeshadow.
• After applying your typical morning skin care, smooth a mattifying primer over your skin focusing on the T-zone and then diffusing it outwards. You can use your fingers for this or a makeup sponge, and then give it a few minutes to set.
• We always recommend applying foundation first, unless you’re planning a darker eyeshadow look in which case start with the eyes.
• Using a flat-topped makeup brush, damp makeup sponge, or even your fingers, apply your foundation using a mixture of stippling and circular blending motions. Start out with a very thin layer, then stippling on more product only on areas where you need a little more coverage.
• Next, apply your concealer where necessary – under the eyes and over any places where discoloration is showing through your foundation. Dot it on first, and then blend it out lightly either with the pointy end of a makeup sponge or with a smaller buffing brush. Once again, start out with thin layers and build up coverage slowly.
• To set everything, powder either with a flat-topped kabuki brush or with a powder puff. Load up your applicator with powder, tap off the excess, and then use a tapping motion to apply it to your skin. Give your powder a few minutes to set (in the meanwhile you can start your eye makeup), and then use a fluffier brush to remove any excess powder.
• To start off your eye makeup, apply a very thin layer of eyelid primer and then set it with a base eyeshadow or translucent powder. Follow that up by doing your eyeshadow however you darn well like.
• Apply another thin line of eyelid primer along where you want to put on your eyeliner, especially if you’ll be using liquid eyeliner. Follow that up with your eyeliner. If you’ll be using a pencil eyeliner, then set it with a similarly-colored eyeshadow.
• Apply your tubing mascara as you would any mascara. Bring the wand close to the lash line, and then wiggle the brush as you pull it to the tips of the lashes.
• The same principle of cream first followed by powder applies when doing your eyebrows. Your eyebrows will stay put best if you first apply a brow pomade, and then set it with powder. For extra longevity, apply a sealing brow gel on top.
• Powder blush, contour, and highlighter will give your face definition while also working to absorb oils throughout the day. Apply contour to the hollows of your face and areas you’d like to thin out, keep highlighter to the high points of the face that you would like to emphasize, and apply your blush to the apples of the cheeks and pull it up into the temples.
• As a final sealing step, mist on some makeup setting spray. Hold the bottle around an arm’s length away from the face, and spray a few times. Fan your face so that it dries down quickly, and then enjoy oil-proof makeup all day long.
• Blot your skin throughout the day to get rid of any shine or oil the peaks through.
It’s really important to remember that what will work for one person with oily skin may not work for another one. There are so many things that make us different from one another, from skin chemistry to climate to aesthetic preferences. Because of this, I’ve collected a bunch of makeup tips for oily skin, and I encourage you to play around and try things out to figure out which of these will work for your skin and makeup style!
• When it comes to cream or liquid products, thin layers tend to stay intact better than thinner layers. Avoid packing on the mattifying primer or foundation, as you are likely to end up with cakiness and separation later on in the day.
• Layering multiple matte products will definitely control your oils, but it’ll also give your skin a very flat, non-reflective finish. If that’s what you’re going for, cool! These days, however, the dewy finish is all the rage because it makes the skin look more youthful and luminescent. By using a mattifying primer, demi-matte foundation, powdering very lightly, and using blotting sheets throughout the day instead of touch-up with powder you can end up with skin that looks healthfully dewy rather than greasy.
• If your skin is extremely oily, then multiple layers of mattifiers might be totally necessary, and your skin may still end up looking dewy.
• While a mattifying primer is usually the best first layer, some people with oily skin find they get surprisingly great results from using a setting spray as a primer.
• Others love the mattifying effect of using a face powder before cream and liquid products, which is also often referred to as the “Wayne Goss Method”.
• Speaking of powder, for maximum oil-control apply it to your skin with a powder puff, but use a brush if you’d rather compromise on the mattifying effects in favor of having a more natural skin finish.
• Following cream products with powder will help make them more durable and less likely to smudge in the presence of both oil and water. This trick applies to foundation, of course, but it also works for other types of products like brow pomade, eyeliner, or even lipstick.
• When it comes to tubing mascara, many people find that while they are the most oil-resistant, they are not particularly volumizing. If you’d like more voluminous lashes you can first apply a regular volumizing mascara, let it dry down just a bit, and then layer a tubing mascara over it, for voluminous, oil-resistant lashes.
Photos via @sonagasparian, @laura.craffey, @misvemir